Clock Tower restoration on track

The finished product.

The iconic Clock Tower at the V&A Waterfront has been given a facelift and a fresh lick of paint.

The historic building, completed in 1883, was the original harbour signal station and port captain’s office.

Escaping a possible demolition in 1975, the Clock Tower received a makeover in 1976 after which it was declared a national monument in 1978.

A further restoration of the Clock Tower was done in the late 1990s.

The V&A Waterfront spokesperson, Donald Kau, said an active working harbour such as the V&A Waterfront is in many ways a hostile environment with dirt, dust, salt, water and birdlife impacting the building structures the Waterfront are responsible for.

“The historical Clock Tower is a listed national monument and its restoration, carried out under the supervision of a heritage architect and conservationist was split into two phases, the first having just been completed which dealt with the exterior.

“This entailed restorative paintwork of the building’s façade including timber frames and metal fretwork, cleaning and repainting of the entire balcony, as well as the replacement of the lead roofing.”

The refurbishment was commissioned by Indawo. According to Indawo managing director, Geoffrey Jack, redecoration at a tourist attraction also adds to the challenges that face refurbishment companies.

“The project involved the complete redecoration of the tower and restoring it to its original state, including the right colour choice to ensure the original aesthetic appeal is maintained.

“The lead roof sheeting
was also replaced. This is
roof sheeting that is specifically cut to size and installed. A bird deterrent was also installed. During redecoration, the production team had to contend with high consumer traffic and winds that often is a challenge for painters in areas with continuous consumer traffic,” said Mr Jack.

He said lead roof sheeting has a long lifespan if well maintained. “Its flexible properties also allow for it to be a good sealant resulting in a safe waterproofed product. Also used as a covering for gutters, lead can provide an ideal solution to waterproof a roof. Correct installation is critical to ensure this long lifespan is maintained.”

Mr Kau said the V&A Waterfront was proud of the outcome, especially the craftsman’s like approach in dealing with the lead roof.

He said a maintenance plan is in place for all the V&A Waterfront’s buildings.

“Part of the vision for the property has always been, and continues to be, to protect its rich cultural fabric by maintaining historical infrastructure. Our cleaning and maintenance schedule includes all buildings across the property.”

The Clock Tower is not yet accessible to the public. However, Mr Kau said the national monument is one of 30 points of historical interest and landmarks on-site that form part of the property’s historical legacy.